It's time to talk about the new Tau codex. It caused a lot of controversies even before the release, and now, after several playtests, we can already say something for sure.
Complaints, in general, were caused by a small number of changes compared to the index, and some kind of roughness of the codex - the profiles of some weapons seemed to be done in a hurry. And, of course, the fact that Tau are not as strong as they used to be. Tau players got used to the dominance on the tables at the end of the 7th edition when even a fun roster was swept an unprepared opponent from the table before he could even figure out what was going on. Now, this has obviously changed. Is it bad?
Let's look at the details: the cheapening of units and weapons? Here it is. Fire Warriors are now, perhaps, the most effective troops in the game - for their ridiculous price they can deal an overwhelming amount of shooting. You surely want to take Cadre Fireblade, right? And that means 15 shots with Str5 at a distance of 15 inches from the 35 points squad. That is, by taking 9 of these units, you will get not only one of the cheapest brigades but, perhaps, the most effective one. However, with such a cheap troop, you can choose any detachment combination to gain more of the necessary characters and command points.
Command points lead to the next part - stratagems. It is impossible to speak about the absence of differences with the index, having a complete set of 25 stratagems, like in any other codex. Of course, not all of them are useful - many, especially those relating to battlesuits - are situational. But then you have a lot of command points so that it's not a pity to spend them on useful bonuses. In general, here you will find the analogs of all popular stratagems from other books - which already makes this not worse. And, of course, their own. From uniquely useful - one that has moved from Chapter Approved, adding D3 additional markers, two effects for the Nova reactor instead of one for the Riptide, maximum profile for the wounded battlesuit, traditional healing, and, of course, +1 to wound for units shooting at already wounded this turn unit - a special stratagem for T'au sept.
By the way, septs - the next point - their features very tangibly add to the playability of this codex. Most likely, of course, you will use T'au - overwatch at 5+ is exactly what this faction needs. Given your shooting specification, most armies can only beat you in close combat. So – you will surely fire overwatch. Don’t forget that it is not only the target unit who fires it but everything is 6 inches from it. And also don’t forget that you have a lot of cheap infantry that shoots like mad. Having risen them in orderly dense rows, you can stop any offensive. And if the enemy still made his way, though you have Darkstrider (you also want to take him for sure), who will allow you leave a close combat, shoot again and then again fire overwatch. If, of course, at least something remains by that moment. So, such features of the 8th edition like the lack of templates and the ability to leave melee maximally help the army of Tau.
Of course, the scheme of the game doesn’t seem the most interesting - we stand, shoot, we finish off the remnants of the enemy. But isn’t it the way Tau always fought? Yes, in the current version there is clearly more attention at the infantry. But this is typical for all armies now. In addition, if you look more broadly, there are ways to play Tau more interesting - you still have fast maneuverable Piranhas, planes, and even Kroots, who can make an excellent screen. Therefore, I would like to wish Tau players not to cling to the old schemes, and not to be afraid to try something new and non-standard – you have all the tools for this.