Today we look at the Kroot Hound, one of the Tau fast attack choices. Release the (bird)dogs of war!
Kroot Hounds, now separated from their masters, are a unique fast attack choice for a Tau army. They start off very fast, with a 12″ movement stat, and the standard Kroot strength and toughness of three. Weapon skill 3+ is respectable and combined with their two attacks it makes them at least a passable combatant, although their extreme fragility (one wound, 6+ save) detracts from this. Leadership five is also quite abysmal, as even with a single casualty coming in you have a significant chance of losing additional models. However, the unit is priced as cheap as they come- 6pts per model, with squad sizes of four to twelve.
Special Rules and Wargear
Kroot Hounds’ only special rule is Voracious Predators, which allows them to reroll charge rolls if their target has suffered any wounds this turn. Note that this works against all models, including vehicles.
Each Kroot Hound is armed with Vicious Fangs, which are an AP-1 melee weapon with no other traits.
Kroot Hounds do not have a lot going for them- while they can make a passable stab at melee combat, even there they are pretty middling and will rarely impress against even the weakest opponents. However, in a roundabout way this is also their biggest advantage- the complete lack of bells and whistles means they come in at a rock-bottom price, which is a useful feature in many armies.
9th Edition is largely about scoring and board control; players who can effectively control objectives and table space will usually win the game. Tau, however, are not very good at this, not the least of which because their core troops are pretty lackluster and they tend to lack scoring presence. This is compounded by many of the better Tau units being quite expensive- Riptides, Broadsides, Crisis, etc, are all pretty large concentrations of points that don’t leave a lot of resources available for presence elsewhere on the table.
Kroot Hounds are one of the potential solutions to this- though there are others in the codex as well. Being about as cheap as any unit in the game can be while also being fairly mobile, Kroot Hounds are a solid choice for a unit to hold a backfield objective without a big investment or a throwaway unit to move into midfield and get in the way/grab an unoccupied objective. While their incredibly poor defenses don’t make them amazing at this role, realistically speaking most such units are in the same boat and will die whenever anything is able to shoot at them, so their low profile does help keep them from being seen as much. They are also quite speedy, outmoving basically all other 6pt models (and winning combat against them to boot).
The one big issue with Kroot Hounds is that they are not infantry, which prevents them from taking actions in most cases. This is certainly an annoying thing to lack, but it’s not devastating- there are plenty of other things they can still bring despite this; they can still screen, contest objectives, etc.
One thing to remember is that Kroot Hounds have access to the Ambushing Predators stratagem, which for 1CP can let you perform a Heroic Intervention with the unit at a range of 6″. Which this is certainly not going to do anything impressive in terms of pouncing on a unit and killing them, it does let you move onto an objective just in time to take control of it for your turn or to just get some free movement to shuffle around. However, keep in mind that the Hounds’ abysmal defenses will be very relevant here; even Imperial Guardsmen present a serious threat to them in combat and could easily wipe out a smaller squad.
Kroot Hounds are a functional unit within the Tau codex, though not a hugely impressive one. They are held back by their lack of relevant keywords and poor statline, but should the rest of the codex get upgrades to make it more functional, it is very possible that they will become a significant player just by virtue of being able to do several of the things that 9E wants you to be able to do with your units, even without seeing any changes.
As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.