Let’s talk about how Space Marines have stolen what makes T’au special.
Injustice, thy name is Space Marines. Not only are the Angels of Death cementing a grip on the meta but they are also overshadowing most other lists, doing what they do better. Because of the sheer size of the Space Marine roster it was inevitable that they would overlap with other armies, and some more than most. Today let us take a look at how the current Space Marine army has stolen what made T’au special.
Let’s say I described a 40K army as:
- based around infantry squads
- armed with powerful hand weapons
- lacking heavy or special weapons
- slow moving hover transports
- a version of the same hover transport that was very similar but with a large main gun
- infantry backed up by troops in a variety of heavy fighting battle suits, lighter expendable ones, (often armed with flamers)
- characters take advantage of being hard to target and/or and heavy & hard to kill
- army often takes advantage of being able to transfer wounds from its core units onto smaller cheaper units
So which army am I talking about?
A couple years ago this would have clearly been T’au Fire Warriors with their pulse rifles, Devilfish, Hammerheads, Crisis Suits, Commanders and Riptides backed up by drones. All are things that fit that description and came together to form a unique army. However if I asked that question today I’m not sure T’au are the obvious answer, because that could describe another army: Space Marines.
What The Marines Stole
In this description Intercessors are the infantry, a far better version of Fire Warriors. Repulsors fill the role of the slow hover transport, while the Executioner is the new Hammerhead. Centurions fill the role of battle suit, mid weight units much like the Crisis Suits, though slower. Chaplain Dreadnoughts are the new Commanders while the dreaded Leviathan is the Riptide. With Cogitated Martyrdom serving as a stand in for shield drones. And like… that’s it, that’s the things that made T’au special and good, all taken by Space Marines. Well I guess at least T’au still have overwatch shenanigans as thi— oh what’s that? Iron Hands overwatch on a 5+ (and can get rerolls?) oh and Ultramarines have a stratagem to overwatch with multiple units? Welp, guess that got that too. I guess this means Classic Marines are Kroot and Vespids now? Is nothing sacred?
A Case Study
To illustrate the point a bit more lets take a look at Richard Siegler’s LVO winning list. This list is a heavy infantry list based around a few dreadnoughts. This list is just the T’au Riptide list, but with Space Marines. The Chaplain Dreads act like T’au Commanders. The Leviathan is like a Riptide and the mass of infantry replaces the drones. It works in the same way, but keeping a semi-mobile deadly shooting mass in a formation. The heavy weapons are either untargetible or next to impossible to kill – due in large part to being able to transfer wounds. The list outshines T’au in a few areas: it’s “shield drones” are really good at shooting, the list is far more accurate overall, the Leviathan is harder to kill than 3 Riptides and the list can do well in close combat, but it still is functionally the same list. Indeed Richard Siegler up until now has been winning major events as a T’au player using the 3 Riptide list. For LVO however he switched over, possibly because it did the same thing – but better. When the current best player also seems to point to the fact that Space Marines are just better T’au…well I rest my case.
Overall, I think it’s just sad that T’au seem to have lost what made them special. I’ve already wrote about why they are a broken army, and now even the few things they had going for them are done better than another list. It’s just another point showing how Marines are dominating the game and it needs addressing – and fast.
Let us know if you think T’au have gotten a raw deal, down in the comments!