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Units & Wargear


Now down to the nitty gritty...

HQ
The Master Shaper is a T3, S4, I4, W3, A3, Ld 10 character for 38 points. But he has a mere 5+ save and the only way he can improve that is with the 25 point Mark of the Favored Child (4+ invulnerable). He can get wings or fleet of foot to make sure he gets into combat (if he can infiltrate he could be in assault on turn 1). He can also take 2 hounds but then he cannot have wings and since he would still be an IC he can still be targeted. He has access to a strange collection of wargear ranging from melta guns to eviscerators.
Recommendations: He could be good with a power weapon or an eviscerator and a 4+ invulnerable save but with only BS3 I would not give him an expensive gun, maybe a flamer. Because he's an independent character you could attach him to another squad to take advantage of his Ld 10. As far as I can tell, he can even lead non-Kroot units which could make for some interesting combinations.
Conclusion: With T3 and no save to speak of he is too vulnerable. He can be targeted in close combat and auto-killed by anything S6 or higher. Most armies have better HQ choices to use. If you want a Kroot HQ, go with the Shaper Council instead.

In the Shaper Council you get 3-5 of the same guy as the Master Shaper but for just 30 points each. The only thing you lose is they have just I3, Ld9. Like the shaper they can take fleet of foot, hounds and wings (if no hounds) and they can take them for less points than the Master Shaper. They have many of the same disadvantages as the Master Shaper but they are not independent characters and cannot be targeted in assault.
Recommendations: This could be a very scary squad. Give them all eviscerators, two hounds each, fleet of foot and Blood of the Stalker and on turn 1 you can be assaulting with 20 S8 chainfist attacks and your opponent will have to kill 10 hounds before he can target the Shapers (who all have 3 wounds anyway). At 75 points for each Shaper, eviscerator and 2 hounds this is an expensive squad but no one can deny its effectiveness. If at all possible, make sure your army has something they can ride in such as a Chaos Land Raider or Battle Wagon for those missions where infiltration is not an option.
Conclusion: It could be a killer assault unit but it is expensive and fragile. Probably not worth the points.


Elites
Headhunter Kindred are your basic Kroot for 10 points who can get fleet of foot (for an extra 2 points) or trade their normal attacks for one poison attack (always wounds on 4+).
Recommendations: The only different things are fleet of foot and poison. But 2 S4 attacks are better against T4 and T5 than the poison attack. Unless you face a lot of T6 opponents there is no advantage to it. Fleet of foot is nice but for 12 points you can get Vultures.
Conclusion: Don't bother.


Stalker Kindred are basic Kroot and hounds who can ambush (per the Catachan codex). I don't think I have ever seen anyone use this ability so a review is in order. The ambush rules require you to divide the table into 1' grids and assign each a number. You then tell your opponent what you are doing and write down where the unit is hiding. If they are not spotted, you can reveal them during your turn (any turn, they are not on reserve), place them in any wood or jungle terrain in the square you choose. They can't move but can shoot and assault. Any models that don't fit in the wood terrain are lost. Your opponent can spot them by moving into the square and using an auspex or similar ability (the full list is in the Catachan book) in which case the ambushers are placed immediately (and can be shot, assaulted etc.). Got all that? So for 11 points you get a unit that can always infiltrate (so long as there is a forest on the table), even into your opponent's deployment zone.
Recommendations: This squad is a winner. Keep the squad small so you will be able to fit and watch out for the few units that can spot you. Give the shaper an eviscerator and go tank hunting! Or a flamer and go burninating! Scare your opponent on a table with a lot of woods! For a table quarter mission, leave them hidden until the last turn and then claim or contest a quarter to win! But...
Conclusion: The rules for this unit are poorly thought out and very outdated (strictly speaking Tau cannot even detect ambushers since they are not on the list in the Catachan Codex). In the right mission you can win without your opponent having a chance. Unfortunately although the Kroot list has been reprinted twice now with minor tweeks this flaw has never been fixed. So, like the Callidus Assassin or the universally despised Wraithlord this is a unit you could use but most of the time should not.


Troops
Carnivores are your only troop pick. 10-20 Kroot with a Shaper at 8 points a pop. They get no extra do-dads or gimmicks.
Recommendations: You get a useful shooting and assaulting unit for a low, low price. How you will use them depends on your army and mission but they are versatile enough to add to any army. Definitely give the Shaper a power weapon or eviscerator.
Conclusion: Can't go wrong with 1-2 Carnivore units.


Fast Attack
Vulture Kindred are flying Kroot for 12 points each. They can fly into woods without penalty and deep strike. But they are pretty costly for what they do and just as fragile as any other Kroot unit. Deep striking close to the enemy really is not an option; they do not have the firepower to neutralize most enemy units or the armor to withstand the return fire. Deep striking to hold objectives or contest table quarters might be a good option though.
Recommendations: If the table has woods you can manage some nice maneuvers (including turn 1 assaults) but in an open field you'll have a lot of trouble. You can also screen them behind your lines and use them for counter assault, probably the best use for them.
Conclusion: Good for intercepting an assault before it reaches your lines. Not a good offensive unit since it might be shot before arriving.

Kroot Hound Pack is misleadingly named since it's really a hound and Kroot pack. You get 10-20 Kroot plus 5-20 Hounds (!!). Then you can buy Fleet of Foot for the unit for 2 points per Kroot, hounds do not have to pay for it. Similarly if you buy frag grenades for the Kroot the hounds also get that benefit for free. Since hounds are just as effective as Kroot in assault you should probably max out on them.
Recommendations: This is one of the largest and cheapest units in the game! You could have 40 models for 281 points, plus 40 if you fleet. Naturally you might want to go smaller. If you want to build your plan around a moving screen this is the unit for you. As usual, Blood of the Stalker+Fleet of Foot and Infiltrate could have you in assault by turn 1.
Conclusion: The best screening unit in the list.

Tracker Kindred are cavalry Kroot with sniper rifles for 18 points. I was all set to order the special conversion kit for them (the models look really great) until it hit me... Sniper rifles? On Cavalry? What a completely ineffective combination! Not only can't they shoot on the move, they are less effective than normal Kroot since they have just 1 attack. Still, sometimes a 12" charge will catch your opponent off guard. Also, since allies are limited to just 1 Heavy Support choice this gives you a second sniper unit if you want. For all-Kroot armies you can really use these to max out on sniper rifles, unlike the Hunter Kindred they are not limited to 0-1. They also count as having an auspex, a nasty surprise for other infiltrators. And they are a cavalry unit, if you play an army with no cavalry but want some for the modeling opportunity or fluff, here you go.
Recommendations: Screen them, or hide them, shoot, shoot, shoot, charge!
Conclusion: Unless you love sniper rifles, or the models, no. Vultures are cheaper and better counter-assault units.


Heavy Support
Hunter Kindred are 8 point Kroot with sniper rifles. They lose the +1 attack for the spikey gun but gain range. They're also limited to 0-1 units and just 5-10 models (one of which must be a Shaper).
Recommendations: Screen them or put them in woods and keep them out of assault. They are best in armies without many sniper rifles or if you are building your army around pinning and snipers. The Shaper comes with a sniper rifle standard, I wouldn't upgrade him since the sniper rifle is better than any gun he can buy and you should keep them out of assault. Maybe a power weapon... They can also be a very cheap unit, just 61 points for 4 Kroot and a Shaper. This might make them a useful distraction.
Conclusion: I do not consider sniper rifles that useful. Too many units are immune to pinning or have high enough saves to ignore sniper fire. Since most armies have better things to do with their Heavy Support choices I doubt we'll see many of them. Still these guys are fairly cheap and snipers seem to scare a lot of other players so they can be worthwhile. Especially compared to the turkeys coming up...


Krootox Herds are not appealing at all. 10-20 normal Kroot plus 3-5 Krootox. The Ox is 50 points for a S7 rapid fire gun. The high stats (S6, T5, A3, W3) are not that good since they are considered T3 for auto-killing. In assault they would do some damage but a Shaper Council with eviscerators would do much better (not to mention units in other armies). If you take 20 ordinary Kroot to take wounds the Ox will live longer but if the all the Kroot die the Ox will wander off. In an all Kroot army these might be necessary but as allies they add nothing. Any of the armies that can take the Kroot have access to better shooting units.
Recommendations: Take a lot of Kroot to build up the unit and take wounds. If you plan to shoot, screen them.
Conclusion: Not worth it.


Punji Traps: 15 point, one-shot mortar attacks.
Recommendations: Whatever.
Conclusions: No.

Forge World Heavy Support: Great Knarloc
So far the only addition to the Kroot list has been Forge World's Great Knarloc, a Kroot Tyrannosaurus Rex. You can find the trial rules for it here but keep in mind they may change and may not be allowed in some leagues or tournaments.

For 60 points you get a S8, T5, W5 beast with 4-8 Kroot Goads (10 points each) and a Shaper. There's a chance the Knarloc will eat a Goad during close combat and if all the Goads are killed it must make a leadership check (Ld7) or flee. The whole unit can fleet of foot and use field craft (giant dinosaurs are stealthy!).

While the Knarloc looks like he should be a monstrous creature he is not. Your opponents will get their regular armor saves against his biting and stomping. The designers' notes explain this is because it would be unrealistic for a dinosaur to rip apart a tank. However it is 100% realistic for a giant bug to rip up a tank, or a space chicken with a big chainsaw. 40k, after all, is all about the realism. Ah well, no biggie, if it was a monstrous creature it would have to cost a lot more.

The trial rules do not mention infiltration. Oddly enough, this means that by the rules as written (any Kroot unit without Krootox may infiltrate) means they can. But I think we can all agree that trying to claim this would be rules-lawyering in its worst form. Let's just assume they can't infiltrate and go from there.

Another rules oddity is that apparently your opponent cannot target the Knarloc; he's part of the squad so you can take a maximum unit of handlers and assign wounds to them (until you start to run low). Or assign low strength hits to the Knarloc and high strength hits to the Goads.

I'm not sure how this would work with screening. Obviously you can see the Knarloc over the heads of the unit in front, but can I then assign wounds to the handlers? I don't think so since the handlers are out of sight but some players might argue otherwise. Assuming you can't, then perversely, you do not want to try and screen the Knarloc since you will have to assign all wounds to the big guy.

Recommendations: Here's a weird unit that could be a lot of fun. Against lightly armored troops the Knarloc will do a lot of damage but heavily armored troops will withstand it nicely. Delivering the Knarloc to battle will be a challenge on most tables, especially since you cannot screen it behind troops. You could try marching it behind a tall tank though. He might also be just the thing to screen a Wraithlord or Daemon Prince, but you didn�t hear that from me. But at just 60 points (plus a minimum of 61 points for the Goads and Shaper) he might be worthwhile just to distract your opponent from the rest of your army. Something about a giant dinosaur charging across the field makes people panic and forget their priorities. More shots at the Knarloc means fewer shots at your much deadlier units.
Conclusion: It's a giant chicken dinosaur! If you have the points and the Heavy Support slot, go for it! However given its questionable legality I would hesitate to spend $64 on the Forge World model. Not when nearly any dinosaur model or toy will do.


Wargear
The wargear list is pretty short. Looking at the single-handed weapons I'd recommend the Slugger (S4 for just 1 point) and the power weapon. Kroot have a lot of trouble with heavily armored targets so any weapon that ignores saves is gold.

For two-handed weapons the eviscerator is probably the best. For ten points more than the power weapon the Shaper will be killing almost anything 42% of the time. Most Shapers are I3 anyway so going last is not that big a disadvantage. Some use might be found for the flamer in an ambushing squad. In a shooty squad the storm bolter might work but since the shaper is only BS3 I'm not too eager to buy expensive guns for him. Besides, except for the storm bolter, plasma (Shaper Council only), melta (SC only) and flamer, all of the rifles listed worse than the Kroot rifle he gets for free.

Wargear does not have much to offer. Meltabombs on a winged, fleet or ambushing Shaper are nice but an eviscerator has the same chance of penetrating armor and you get 3-4 attacks with it. An auspex might help with other infiltrators but the rest is not needed.

There are some very useful totems though. The Kroothawk totem lets you re-roll for turn 1, but since it's for all-Kroot armies only it does not do us much good. The Veneration Charm is the same as a Master Crafted Weapon, basically an extra attack for your shaper. Sometimes worth it when you are counting on your Shaper to perform. With the new assault rules the Mark of the Favored Child (4+ invulnerable save) is not needed. The only independent character in the army is the Master Shaper and he is not worth the points. Spend the 25 points on squad members to take hits. The Surefoot Charm lets you re-roll for fleet of foot. Good if you are counting on those turn 1 infiltration assaults or a moving Kroot Hound screen. The other half of the turn 1 assault is the Blood of the Stalker which lets infiltrators get d6" closer. Really it's only useful in combination with fleet of foot or flying and then only if you can actually infiltrate. At 20 points, it's probably not worth it.



Created by: ZiggyQubert. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:32:45 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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