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Boarding Patrol: T'au Empire

“The hand of each of the starfarers is turned against the other; none will join their strength together just to see their ancient enemies prosper. Neither should we.”

The T’au Empire; a vast and ever expanding multispecies Xenos faction. Technologically advanced and growing rapidly, they seek to unite the galaxy in its philosophical concept known to them as the “Greater Good”. But while they may seem peaceful on the surface, if their endeavours to have all join their Empire are denied, they may just resort to force. Because one way or another, the “Greater Good” will prevail…

Greetings everyone, Build Monkey here and today we are going to be taking a first look at the new Boarding Patrol boxset of that ever-so divisive faction, the T’au Empire. We’ll be looking at what it comes with, what’s good about it, is it value for money and is it going to be any good on the tabletop? Let’s check it out.

So, what will you get in the box? In the Boarding Patrol: T’au Empire you will find: 1x Commander Farsight, 3x XV8 Crisis Battlesuits, 10x Fire Warriors plus 1x Support Turret, 8x Tactical Drones and 3x T'au Empire Infantry Transfer Sheets containing a total of 555 decals. That’s a pretty good number of models there for a start totaling in at 23 and with the decals, you have plenty of scope to add a lot of detail and personality to these models. But what’s their value individually?

1x Commander Farsight - £37.50

3x XV8 Crisis Battlesuits - £50

10x Fire Warriors plus 1x Support Turret - £35

Total - £122.50

Saving - £42.50

The current given RRP of this boxset for release is £80. Buying all of these models individually would set you back £122.50, which means you’re making a saving of £42.50. You could buy two of these boxsets and still have plenty of change left over. which is pretty damned good. But I digress… We need to check out whether they’re any good for that price tag.

*Disclaimer: I haven’t included the cost of the Tactical Drones in this price breakdown because these models are available in both the XV8 Crisis Battlesuits and Fire Warriors boxes. The total number of Tactical Drones available in these boxes together makes up the total number of Tactical Drones available in this Boarding Patrol boxset, so to include these models in this breakdown would add an unnecessary total of £42 to this price breakdown, putting it way above its actual value.

Commander Farsight - The legendary Hero of Vior’la, by the name of Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr, or for short; O'Shovah, otherwise known more widely as Commander Farsight. This model in itself is a fantastic update that many have been waiting 20 years for, showing off the exceptional expression of the character in his brand new XV-86 Supernova battlesuit.

Being, well, Commander Farsight it’s pretty clear he’s your HQ choice for this army and what an HQ he is; Movement of 10 inches, Weapon and Ballistic Skills of +2, Strength and Toughness of 5, 7 Wounds and armed with a High-Intensity Plasma Rifle and a Dawn Blade this guy is a beast!

XV8 Crisis Battlesuits - These are the elite units of the army, with 2 Crisis Shas’ui being led by 1 Crisis Shas’vre. But before I go into too much detail it’s important to note that this unit can also be built as Crisis Bodyguards instead.

Statwise there is no difference between these two different units (aside from the Crisis Shas’vre having a higher Leadership of 9 instead of 8) and both have access to exactly the same loadout. The only difference between them is that the Battlesuits can act independently on the tabletop, whereas the Bodyguards gain 2 abilities to synergise with whichever character model they are there to protect; in this case, Commander Farsight. However, while this does mean that they benefit from being considered a “Bodyguard Contingent”, which means at least 1 of these guys won’t take up a Battlefield Role slot when making your army list, they must also all stay within 3 inches of Commander Farsight in order to benefit from being “Sworn Protectors”. So you effectively just turn your elite unit into an over-powered meat-shield for the benefit of Commander Farsight.

This seems a bit of a waste to me, but when you consider that both the Battlesuits and Bodyguards both only have a Weapon Skill of +5 and a Ballistic Skill of +4, you may struggle to make those roles anyway and so having at least 1 of these guys able act as a bullet-sponge for the monster that is Commander Farsight might not be such a bad thing?

Fire Warriors - This is pretty much your standard infantry unit for this army, led by a Shas’ui. It can be built as either a Strike Team or a Breacher Team, depending on your preference, but either way they will both come with a Support Turret available. Statwise, again, there is no difference between these two as both have a Weapon Skill of +5, Ballistic Skill of +4, Strength and Toughness of 3 and only 1 Wound (though at least the Shas’ui has 2 Attacks, the rest of the team only have 1) and they have the same Wargear and abilities available to each of them. Where they do differ is in their Weapons.

Both units get the Missile Pod, Pulse Pistol and Smart Missile System (for the use of the Support Turret). The Strike Team gets the “Pulse Carbine” and the “Pulse Rifle”, which both have Strength 5, but the Pulse Rifle for me is just better than the Pulse Carbine because it’s got a range of 36 inches and deals -1 Armour Piercing Damage, as well as being Rapid Fire. The Breacher Team however gets the “Pulse Blaster” which is either an 8 inch short Range Weapon or a 14 inch long Range Weapon. It’s pretty much just a shotgun you fire from the hip because the closer the target, the stronger the attack and the more AP damage you do. So overall, it's a choice between a long range unit or a short range unit, both of which have the same Heavy Weapon anyway. So, it’s down to personal preference which you take.

Tactical Drones - These pretty much are what you’d expect, and come in 3 variants: a Gun Drone, Marker Drone, and a Shield Drone. Overall they all have the same stats, aside from the Shield Drone that gets 2 Wounds instead of 1 to make it a bit more tanky at, well, Shielding your troops. As Gun Drones they are equipped with a Pulse Carbine and have a Range of 24 inches… They’re basically extra plink-numbers for your army to maybe do a bit of damage here and there, but mostly they’re just basic extra bodies to soak up damage and keep the fleshy T’au fighters from being shot at instead. So, yeah. You get what you’d expect.

So what’s my thoughts on this army… It’s kind of meh, in my opinion. The only thing that I think is good about it is Commander Farsight himself. Yes you get a reasonable amount of flexibility in how you build this army, but I question some of the choices available. For example, I think if a Pathfinder Team had been allowed as an option in this boxset instead of only the Strike Team or Breacher Team, then you’d have a unit that is more able to keep up with the monstrous speeds of Commander Farsight and the XV8 Crisis Battlesuits or Bodyguards. All 3 of those units are Fire Warrior units and carry more or less the same statline, but the Pathfinder Team is Movement 7 instead of 6. Though they don’t get the Support Turret, which Seems like a big loss, but when you consider that the Pathfinder Team has access to a Grenade Launcher, as well as the Rail Rifle which is a pretty damned good Heavy 1 Weapon, it’s not much of a loss at all. Also, they have the ability to better control and buff those Tactical Drones, which otherwise kind of seem more like they’re just meant to float around a bit, causing a bit of confusion and acting somewhat like clay pigeons for your enemies… It’s a real missed opportunity I feel, because I wanted to really like this Boarding Patrol… But I just, don’t.

Is it worth it? I think it’s a bit weak for what it is, with the only defining feature being Commander Farsight. I think he’s the only reason you would want to buy this Boarding Patrol, but as he’s available on his own then there’s not really any reason to want to bother with it, unless you just wanted to bulk out numbers for an existing T’au army with the new updated model. But then, you have a boxset with a Character Model in it, so you then lose any potential re-buyability of this boxset. The savings you make getting it is pretty good though, and sites like ebay exist, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as it could have been and I think it’s a bit of a let-down for what it is. It’s disappointing…


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