My hope is that over the next few weeks we can build up a few of these articles which will also act as a place for players to give their gaming feedback so that we can quickly achieve a worthwhile resource for all Tau players.
So having said that - I start with the Kroot Carnivores
Kroot Carnivores are a cheap light infantry Troops choice for a T’au army. Kroot fill the role of irregular infantry in a Tau force and act as a harassment unit, including disrupting enemy lines and forming inexpensive but effective diversionary or screening units. Kroot are fragile on a model-by-model basis, and rely on sheer model count to weather enemy attacks.
Kroot have similar base statistics to the other Codex troop choices of Strike Teams and Breachers. They differ in having a far worse 6+ armour save and poor leadership, which balances their slightly faster movement and lower cost. The signature Kroot Rifle is not as strong a shooting weapon as the options available to warriors of the Fire Caste but does grant a +1 to Strength in combat which, combined with their superior Weapon Skill, grants Kroot some worthwhile close combat capability.
Kroot have the Stealthy Hunters rule permitting them to redeploy up to 7” after deployment but before the first player turn. This can be used to redeploy a unit of Kroot in response to enemy deployment or to move them outside the deployment zone to gain an early positional advantage.
As auxiliaries Kroot lack the <Sept> keyword and have the Kroot keyword instead. In a few cases this limits their ability to benefit from synergies that other units can use.
Kroot are more useful in combat than most units available to a T’au commander, although they should not be regarded as a powerful combat unit. With a respectable Weapon Skill of 3+ and hitting at Strength 4, Kroot can hit and wound about as well as many basic troops in the game. The fragility of Kroot does mean that if they are unable to strike first, due to being charged, the numbers of Kroot still standing to strike back may be much reduced.
Units of Kroot can usefully assault after they have weakened a target unit with their shooting in the hope of finishing a unit off. Another viable use of Kroot assault would be to tie up a more powerful unit which they are unlikely to kill but which has a low number of attacks, dedicated shooting units or transport vehicles might be usefully tied up.
One last use of Kroot assault is to immobilise or even threaten to remove Character models which are difficult to target with shooting due to nearby enemy units, this situation is most likely to arise as the battle begins to break up after initial charges leave behind Characters whose main purpose is to confer bonuses on nearby units. These supporting characters often lack sufficient damage output to rapidly remove units of Kroot.
When defending in combat after being charged, units of Kroot will typically take severe casualties and may suffer further in the Morale Phase. With their low cost per model and hence good ability to block off lanes of attack into the T’au lines Kroot will often be placed in this position in order to screen more valuable units.
A Kroot Squad is composed of 10-20 Kroot, no upgrades are available.
Kroot are much less specialised in shooting that most T’au units and are at least a moderate threat in assault. A large unit of Kroot can usually force most opposing units to save a number of wounds if they can successfully make a charge. When following up on a T’au shooting phase this can be useful in tidying up small numbers of survivors.
Kroot can be employed as a screening unit for a larger formation. They are inexpensive per model and can form a protective screen for units behind them, providing a barrier against assault. Additionally a Kroot unit spread out across the front of a Tau formation can benefit from many sources of overwatch via For The Greater Good. Kroot can be positioned or infiltrated ahead of the main Tau force for this role and can be stretched out into long lines which are within 6” reach of many Tau units behind them.
With a number of highly mobile assault units in the game and combinations enabling successful charges on any turn including the first the use of screening unit will be a common feature in many lists and play-styles.
It is a very common restriction of units entering the game from reserve that they may not do so within 9” of any enemy model. With their ability to redeploy 7” from their initially deployed position units of Kroot can create a deep zone of denial for enemy reserves which can prevent a number of potentially devastating tactics from working. Even a small number of Kroot units can prevent a reserve-heavy army from arriving close enough to the main T’au force to threaten it immediately.
With their ability to start the game forward of the deployment zone and above average movement Kroot can quickly gain a position on mid-table objectives. Objectives are generally held by the greater number of models and with their low cost per model and generally large unit sizes Kroot are well suited to claiming objectives. Having limited durability Kroot are rarely able to hold objectives in the open against hostile attack. Where objectives have been placed in good cover Kroot are much better able to hold onto them and then require a more concerted effort by an opponent to remove.
In general, the Kroot have one edge over any other unit in terms of synergy: they can bring the most models of any unit. Benefits applying over an entire unit are amplified by the sheer body count of a large Kroot unit. A unit close to a character can be spread out over a considerable distance on the table with the benefit intact.
The Ethereal is an obvious choice to pair with the Kroot, increasing their resilience by increasing their leadership through the Failure Is Not An Option rule, with their low base leadership Kroot benefit from this rule more than most units
The Ethereal powers also apply to Kroot as T’au Infantry. The Calm of Tides power will additionally help to reduce casualties from the Moral Phase. Storm of Fire can result in a moderate increase in shooting damage from units of Kroot. Zephyrs Grace will be helpful when moving Kroot to claim an objective or when it is necessary to move screening Kroot to face a new threat. Kroot see significant benefit from Sense of Stone as this save works on a per-wound basis and Kroot units typically both have and suffer a large number of wounds.
The Kroot Shaper will slightly increase the leadership of nearby Kroot units, this effect is not nearly as powerful as that of an Ethereal but may save the occasional loss of a Kroot to morale. A Shaper has The Shaper Commands rule which allows nearby units of Kroot to re-roll 1’s to Wound. If there are significant numbers of Kroot units within range then this can provide a worthwhile boost to their damage output, it is however less dramatic in effect than are available to other T’au units.
Finally the Kroot Shaper can render nearby Kroot units immune to Morale for a turn if it can kill a model in the Combat phase with its ritual blade. This rule is unlikely to take effect in most games as these attacks are rather weak.
Firewarriors in either Strike teams or Breacher teams compete with Kroot squads in that they are also a candidate for forming the troop choice in a T’au Empire detachment and hence in fulfilling one of the detachments which grant more Command Points. Kroot hold the advantage in unit size, cost, and deployment versatility. Fire warriors by contrast are more resilient model-for-model, have better equipment and better synergy with some T’au characters.
Pathfinders have a similar redeployment rule to the Kroot and fill a similar role of light infantry in a T’au force. Pathfinders are better equipped than Kroot with their basic weapons, including the valuable Markerlight, and can be upgraded into strong shooting units if required. Kroot are cheaper model-for-model and with larger unit sizes may require fewer deployment drops while retaining an advantage in screening roles or in capturing objectives.
The more bestial relatives of the Kroot Carnivores are even cheaper per model (in Power level or Points, not in actual currency when purchasing them) and can compete strongly in any role where being a cheap disposable unit is relevant. Kroot Hounds are fast moving and are slightly more hard-hitting in assault than their bipedal relatives, they are very strong in the Screening and Counter-assault roles. The Kroot Carnivore unit is more of an all rounder with a balance of shooting and combat capability.
Tactical Drones are an excellent unit that will form the basis of many T’au forces, with their advantages in durability and outright firepower they compete strongly with any of the infantry choices available to a commander. In a screening or reserve denial role Kroot Carnivores retain their advantages of larger numbers - and hence fewer deployment drops - and the ability to move beyond the deployment zone before the first player turn.
Kroot are fragile light infantry, and although they have higher Weapon Skill than most Tau units in close combat, will struggle against many units in melee unless they strike first. They are vulnerable to assault and anti-infantry shooting.
In short: almost everything in the game is good at killing Kroot. Survivability for Kroot comes from their low cost and high numbers rather than any particular ability to withstand damage on a model by model basis.
Kroot are a highly adaptable unit in the Tau Codex. With a balance of shooting and combat abilities each unit might find its own function on the battlefield according to circumstances. Kroot are however fragile and unlikely to survive any determined attack