So we are at the dawn of a new edition. Leaks have given us basically everything we need to begin our experimentation, our learning process.
Like many, I was quite taken aback by the new pricing of Tau. Suits and vehicles have shot up in price (a HYMP/SMS broadside went from 65 points to 202 points), while troops have gotten a small discount (9 points per model to 8). Kroot have lost true infiltration in favor of a scout move. Jet pack rules have yet to come to light. Markerlights have changed, mostly in a negative fashion. Riptides and Stormsurges remain powerful, unsurprisingly. Other winners seem to be Stealthsuits (stayed the same price, got buffed greatly) and gun drones (got cheaper and gained shots, even if they lost some power from the drone controller).
But there is one unit, completely overlooked in 7th, which seems to have grown most of all in 8th. The Coldstar Commander.
Coldstar suits in 7th were hampered by their terrible armament and high cost, relegated to the dust bin despite the survivability of flyers. In the new edition, they've gotten a cost break, their armaments have seen a huge improvement, and their comparative mobility remains frankly incredible:
1) Burst cannons got more shots and those shots can hurt more things. Missile pods can now shoot at separate targets as needed.
2) The upgrade is now only 16 points over the commander, rather han 60.
3) Their movement of 20'' and advance of 20'' makes them, currently, the fastest unit on the board. Their ridiculous advance is aided by the fact that both of their weapons are assault and thus only slightly hampered by the additional mobility.
The coldstar also brings some "slot efficiency" to the commander, as they effectively have 3 weapons (2 burst cannons and a missile pod) while keeping 2 slots available for support systems. Advanced Targeting System (-1 to weapon AP) is amazing for a model with this many shots, it pushes the average dead marines from ~2/turn to ~3/turn. This pushes the "unsaved wound" efficiency above that of Stealth Suits. The second support system is up for grabs, but shield generators (dropping to just 8 pts each) seem a good choice for a T5 W6 chassis in the era of AP.
The boost to independent characters also benefits the Coldstar, as they can only be targeted if they are they nearest target. Additionally, each character can take 2 drones and those 2 drones may act independently of the character, providing a lot of flexibility in their movement.
My idea revolves around multiple Coldstars working together, using their speed to isolate units and avoid range bands while hitting hard and relying on their tough stat line and careful maneuvering to survive as many turns as possible. I've taken to calling this a Cold Storm.
The core of a Cold Storm list:
6x Coldstar Commanders [ATS+Shield Generator]
12x Gun Drones
This comes in just under 1000 points, leaving quite a bit of room to fill to taste. 5 of the commanders may be from a Supreme Command detachment while the 6th comes from the main detachment. The 6 Commanders will run around the board, shifting who is in front to keep the wounded toward the back and limit how many angles a single commander can be targeted from. Their weapons can fight swarms or elites and their speed should keep them out of reach of assault troops. Their T5 W6 3+/4++ will see them through a great deal of fire, especially if cover can be utilized. The drones will be spread out being annoying while at least a few try to stay in sacrifice range of the front most commander(s) to eat multi-wound shots.
What do y'all think? Is 8th edition a second lease on life for the Coldstar? Is the Cold Storm a viable idea? I'll be testing this later in the week and will report back.
Augmented Puretide Council
The Tau Deathstar 2015: 8-1