That's an interesting train of thought and something we could talk more about. What i don't agree is that we should be basing ourselves on the stuff GW does for units from WH40k/FW. We all know how little importance GW has been giving these last 15-20 years to make something that makes sense or is barely coherent, so we, for Epic, should use those miniatures, yes, but give them rules that make sense, in general, to Tau, and to Epic.
Also, if we were to do and for now always base on GW ideas, Riptides should be just bigger crisis suits ...
XV104 Riptide is the pinnacle of the Earth caste’s battlesuit development. It stands twice as tall as the XV8 Crisis suit, but its movements are more like those of its smaller cousins than the mechanical stiffness displayed by Imperial walkers with their crude servo-motors.
(on the rest of the text doesn-t say more about its role or what it does so i passed on copying)
Which they already are but faster, so they end up playing in a similar style to less powerful Revenants. Borka
, i think your idea of making them stay closer to the role is good, but as long they are faster than crisis for no reason a far i an see (and also in this game bigger is always slower) i don't think they'll achieve the role you aim to for them, so instead of lowering the weapon range, lower the speed to the crisis' level.
... and Supremacies bigger Stormsurges.
the KV128 Stormsurge is designed as an extreme heavy-weapons platform. Not as manoeuvrable as a Riptide, instead relying on thick armour and devastating loadouts,
Lacking the maneuverability of other battlesuits, the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour was designed for static defence, carrying massively destructive, long range weapons.
Encountering increasing numbers of enemy heavy assault elements, from Imperial Knights to the towering alien monstrosities of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, Tau heavy flyers were often outclassed. Earth Caste engineer Fio’o Ke’lshan Sho’aun developed the KX139 to mount a dynamic yet stoic defence against such foes.
So in Epic it would be both armed with a couple of MW or Lance weapons, and Supremacy for long range, and maybe TK for knights and similar, as there is no mention about them used to taking out infantry. I suppose it uses templates now (it is a recent change in this list) because in WH40k it does in one of its weapons, but it is a misunderstanding as anything big that isn't an energy ray, and even energy rays like Fire Prisms, will most of the time use a template at that scale but won't at Epic's. Another point is what is considered long range in Warhammer 40.000, which would end up probably around 60cm in Epic, more in line with other Tau weapons in Epic.
But as i said before if we base them on GW rules they'll end similar to each other, and given that the difference in size between the suits is small, the difference in role will be even smaller too. On the topic about size i would like to see an AV suit but that-s another issue.
Leaving this aside, i think that when referring to roles the first thing we should question is the role they give to the army. Something i noticed, while i played games against Vior'La, compared when playing against Tau Third Phase, is that i felt that there is a big issue when it comes to roles: that this army plays like a ''jack of all armies''. I'll explain:
- When my opponent took Hammerheads, Stormsurges and Supremacies, the way the army played made me feel like i was playing against Steel Legion, staying back and basing the tactics on shooting from afar defensively with not even close as much focus on moving, use of low range fire, GMs, coordinated fires or markerlights for example, as Tau Third Phase does.
- When my opponent took Hammerheads, cadre Fireblade, Riptides and shielded Orcas, it felt like i was playing against Biel-Tan, with Aspect Warriors, and Revenants and Falcons appearing and dissapearing. Yes, i know that Tau Third Phase has some resemblances in play-style to Biel-Tan, in how they have to combine the efforts of several formations at once to achieve results, but that's what they share the most, and in this case they played way closer to Biel-Tan, not as a whole only but in the role of each new unit/option adds.
- Also, i still haven't encountered it, but i think they could play like codex SM, with the shielded orcas with cadre Fireblade FWs providing sturdy and powerful air assaults, plus Stealth suits with cadre Fireblade and other foramtions. The Orcas are in the 1/3 part here, but as they are so sturdy and only cost 150 points, one can make a very similar army easily and Tau Third Phase won't be even half as successful at that role.
- And if the opponent doesn't take many of the new options or don't take a single Supremacy (those long range artillery shots change the army's play-style A LOT
, destroying the Tau flavour of the list completely for the reason others have told before so i won't go deep into that) it goes back to being a Tau army.
Which are the three main armies. It just need a new Orky option to complete all four original ones. Yes, Steel Legion, Biel-Tan and codex SM have others lists that play differently, but even Iyanden still has a similar main playstyle to other Eldar, Minerva like Steel Legion or White Scars like codex SM, or even Ferals like Ghazgkhull, that although they give lots of options on their lists, they play in a similar way, as even a META Ghazgkhull list has a similar style and characteristics to a shooty slow one with lots of Stompas and Gunzmobs. In these examples, the units are different so there are differences in playstyle, but the main play-style of each army is intact on those.
The feeling became bigger while playing, as in those times when the new options are taken, there is no room for more Tau units, so the list feels less and less like it plays like Tau.
Take into account that i am not against
the options themselves, much more like the opposite as i mainly play with Orks in Epic, but when they make it possible to make an army look like one is playing with other few armies, that's a bad list design, and quite boring to booth. If one wants Steel Legion or Biel-Tan play-style, go and use that list, not create a new one.
So, what do you think about it?