Had my first game of 8th yesterday against another Tau army - both of us had not played since 6th. I gave my friend extra points (didn't count to begin with as it was a friendly game, but it amounted to 250 extra points) so that he could try out his old units this edition and we could see what works. Here are my thoughts:
1 - Broadside
Didn't have the luxury to use because he nuked it with hammerhead shot to the face with commander longstrike considering how evil railguns are, I'm pretty sure he would have done well too. It was rough though that he's such an expensive model for points and he just got obliterated by a -4 AP d6 damage weapon. I gave him cover but that didn't help at all. Perhaps I should give him a shield generator or some throw away drones.
2 - Breacherfish
Holy moly these guys did work. Their devilfish unfortunately got destroyed before it could do anything, but they hopped out unscathed and proceeded to level 2 out of the 3 man crisis team with some markerlight assistance. I'm considering dropping my fire warrior English firing line for more of these nasties. They did get assaulted in the proceeding turn and died to a man, but they took some wounds off in overwatch.
3 - Crisis suits
These guys on both sides did some damage, but not to the amount I had been accustomed to. I ran plasma and ion on 3 guys and he had three with dual missile pods and ATS, and 3 with plasma/fusion. The latter group did well enough whittling down my devilfish and crisis suits but couldn't kill them in the same turn. My ion/plasma guys (Hailknives?) did enough shots to whittle off the 6+ drones he had to let the breachers go to town. In hindsight, I wish I had more firepower to whittle down the drones before I shot with my better weapons, but I had been on the tough end of a Tau alpha strike.
The missile pod guys were really good and were able to stay far away and gun things down, though he had difficulty trying to uproot my infantry in cover. I'm really liking my Hailknives with their 5 shots at 12", but I wish they did multiple damage for their shots (overcharge is unreliable with few shots and weak BS). The ion came in handy in a pinch, but most of the time I was already wounding on 3s and having more luck with more shots than overcharge. The missile pods would be ideal, especially with ATS...but they are just so darn expensive points wise.
4 - Ghostkeel
He didn't actually do that much damage or impress me in the slightest. HOWEVER, this dude soaked up a disproportionate amount of the enemy's fire and loved it. Honestly, I think this dude is meant to be a big bullet sponge as he continued to tank 3 fusion piranhas, 2 12 man strike teams, and a breacher squad for 4 turns. He didn't put out much but boy did he take it. I wish they'd improve his BS and/or his weapons. The fusion on him hit with irregularity, and the ion raker, while good with damage and shots, needs better AP. It's disheartening to see him roll a 5 for overcharge, get three wounds in, and then have a piranha shrug it off with a 5+ save (ok my opponent's 5+ save rolling game was on fire, but still). There doesn't seem to be enough reward for the risk you take with overcharging the weapon.
5 - Pathfinders (Ion vs rail vs MLs)
So this was a rare case where we could see the whole debate of how to run pathfinders. I did a one man team of 8 MLs and 2 ion rifles and my friend took 5 MLs and 3 rail rifles. My MLs were invaluable all game, splitting up 4 and 4 on two different targets utilizing R'alai's Kauyon, his two marker drones, and a cadre ML. I was able to reliably get two units marked with either 4 or 5 MLs all game. I overcharged and killed one ion rifle despite using a command point turn one but the other did a few wounds off of some crisis suits with such a long range.
Here's where I think the extra points came to hurt me (I mean duh). His three rail rifles managed to do a number on my suits. He killed one of my XV9s and put a few wounds on the other. My suits had been within rapid fire range due to them needing to kill his longstrike. My XV9s had stripped longstrike down to one wound but unfortunately didn't kill him, which put them in prime range for the rifles to go to work.
I think, had he had the points restrictions, he might not have taken them, but that goes without saying. However, rail rifles, I've found, can be a big wake up call for anyone on the receiving end. If they dropped 5 points off the weapons cost, I'd say they'd be auto take. They bring a solid weapons choice to a list that needs high strength, low AP, and multiple damage.
Those are my thoughts for now, I mean I ran a big blob of fire warriors with a cadre Fireblade and a pulse accelerator, which went about as well as you could hope, but trying to kill 4+ armor in cover is tough. Or my opponent's dice were just rolling hot