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Friday, April 12, 2013

What makes a codex "made for an edition"?

Haha, get it?! Hahahah...ahhhh...

When new codices come out, people often discuss how well they interact with the current edition. Really though, how do you determine whether a codex suits an edition or not? Is it just about the mission objectives and the army’s ability to achieve them? If that were the case, I think the CSM codex would have been better received. It’s not like that book is hurting for ways to take or hold objectives. No, I don’t think winning is enough to say a book is “made for the edition.” What I have been thinking lately is that people feel books fit an edition when they have the ability to circumnavigate, negate or benefit from the rules of the edition that usually act as obstacles to an army’s success.

In sixth edition I’m really thinking about a couple of specific rules when I say that. Today I’m thinking of Skyfire, Overwatch, Nightfighting, Ignores Cover, Look out Sir and random charge distance. I’m thinking about those ones, well, because they do have a big impact on the game. But the real reason is because they are all important aspects of the sixth edition rules that the new Tau codex can work around, flat out ignore or take advantage of. The new Tau Empire book is the first book that really exhibits what I think makes a codex geared toward the new rule set.

A lot of the Tau’s methods for dealing with and taking advantage of these rules come from markerlights. From the opposition’s perspective, that’s very good because not that many units have access to firing more than one at a time. But that’s not the case with all of them. Nightfighting is a relatively cheap upgrade. Ignoring LoS! is a personal Warlord Trait (one of six very good ones, too). Skyfire is an upgrade one of their deadliest weapons platforms, Broadsides, which every competitive player was already fielding nine of every game. Combined overwatch is pretty much army-wide and even a single markerlight can help you fire snapshots. How potent would it be to combine that with a Grav Wave Projector to slow assaulters and then kill the few (if there are any at all) that would have made it into combat with the overwatch fire from three separate squads?

This isn’t just to comment on how powerful these things are, though they do seem very effective. The point is that the Tau are very capable of simply not having to deal with a lot of the new edition’s rules that the rest of us have to plan around while writing lists and playing the game. Many little rules that are a pain in the butt for other armies are either a non-issue or an advantage with a TAC Tau list.

This actually reminds me of one time during fifth edition when I saw ATSKNF referred to as “and they shall know no inconvenience.” At that time (and now too, incidentally) Space Marines just didn’t have to deal with little details like losing an assault by suffering one wound, then failing a Ld test to see the whole unit run down and wiped out instantly. The Tau are now in a similar position with regard to many of the challenging situations that can arise in sixth edition. As with every development in 40k rumors and releases it has me wondering what implications are there to be read for my beloved Eldar. But for now I’ll let it stand as something to wonder about.