Well I just played my first game against my son and his immortals. We are definitely at a handicap with the rules. Lacking some of the miscellaneous upgrades that the 3 core rule factions get access to hurts. Not to mention, recon armor sort of stinks, we are not getting much in the way of saves at all.
A couple of fixxes I think would have helped would be allowing multiple marker lights to target the same target to give us a +1 to BS, similar to the 40k rules would be beneficial. Access to fire warriors would be nice, due to the carapace armor and pulse rifle access. The rail gun, should have been stronger, maybe have two fire modes, a more and fire mode that made it str 6, -2 save at 24 inches, and a sniper mode that makes it shoot at 36 inches, but str 7, -3 save. Also having access to breacher weapons as real nasty shot guns would have been nice as well. Camo cloaks are a must have. Telescopic sight would have been nice, as well as access to a targeting array that would give a bonus to our BS when standing still (hey our helmets have those systems anyways right) in place of the extra markerlight bonus. Also a shield drone upgrade, where any tau within 3 inches would benefit from a 4+ invunerable save. Lastly, the Carbine should be a sustained fire dice of 1, because well, it is a carbine weapon so it is suppose to fire burst shots.
Lastly, something expensive for a long term campaign, is maybe the team leader having access to a stealth suit upgrade, sure if could be like a 200 point upgrade option and not something they start with, but something they could buy later. The suit could give the stat bonus, but replaces their weapon with just a burst cannon option, or for more points on top of that, the fusion gun.
yes many of these are wishful thinking, but some of these suggestions would make us more competitive. We are not the only faction I think is lacking, but I may look at making some house rules to fix a few things. In 40k, we are a faction with ranged threat, but in SWA, we lack any real ranged threat. One of the other tau players has played 5 games and lost all of them. Against the scout army, he was brutally out ranged and taken out one by one.
As for the iniative, I don't mind that being low, we are Tau, and melee is simply not our area of expertise. If they want to give us melee options, they should have allowed us to field 0-3 kroot. Also I feel our warband size should be greater in size, 10 including the drones is small, I would settle for 10 and 3 drones, because as it stands, if our team members don't die, it wont take us long to cap out, and for example, the necron force I went against was just 5 immortals, who can cap at 10 as well. In the long haul, once they get to 10 strong, they will out power us easily while we are stuck at 10 for many rounds. Just from a math perspective, not including upgrades, 10 immortals is around 2000 points in SWA with upgrades easily anywhere from 2100-2300 points, while a 10 strong tau team is maybe at 1150-1300 points.
I know that is looking at a capped out team, but still, our odds of surviving the long term is slim. I rolled to see if my two downed players lived or died, and I would have lost one. Losing only nets me maybe one cache, possibly 2 or more, but if I spend the one cache, all I end up doing is replacing the one downed trooper who also took there armor and gun with them, so having to buy it all again each and every game could hurt.
I know my post here sounds negative, just trying to see a bright side. I really feel GW rushed out the extra factions without actual game testing or consideration to the rule books options. They got some rules, but rushed rules are just that, rushed, and some factions fare better, others not so much.